Old haunts. My life is full of ghosts right now. Last week it was Jersey and reading big green signs along the highway. Places I used to go. This used to be my exit. This used to be my home. I did more than stomp here. So many memories sped by my passenger window as the miles rolled by. With my uncle now in the hospital (here we go again), I might have a chance to revisit…for a third time.
But the bigger news is last night I ran in Florence. With that experience I don’t even know where to start. Let me try. Florence. It’s where the running first began. It’s where every step of the the training happened. I had favorite loops where heartbreak and breakthroughs happened. I got to know certain streets intimately. And. I have to say this – it’s where the running abruptly ended.
I spent Sunday morning trying to map out an 8-10 mile loop; something that would take me down every possible memory lane. I told Kisa maybe I should just run every old training loop until I run out of time or energy, whichever came first. I poured over a map and tried to picture being back in town. Impossible to figure out. Loops weren’t logical. In the end I just started and let the route guide me:
- Crazy cat lady’s house – it’s gone and they’re rebuilding a historical replica of what was there before. Bummer. I’ll miss the pink house with all the gnomes, fairies, pinwheels, witch balls, rabbits, cats, dragonflies and butterflies.
- Alcohol Hill – there are no more nip bottles on the hill! The liquor store is now a coffee shop. There’s a different kind of trash now.
- Cool quiet street – the kids have all grown up; their toys have vanished from the lawns. It’s even more quiet.
- Library – shuttered and dark due to the holiday
- The Park – bathrooms padlocked; paddle boats locked up. Only one runner crosses my path as we run the loop in opposite directions. Even the ducks in the pond are silent. I forgot all about freaking out over The Spot where my knee gave out.
- Sprawling cemetery – to avoid the mourners leaving Easter baskets of lilies I zigged out as quickly as I zagged in. I didn’t even stick around for the fellatio.
- Child’s park – ran around it. Too many walkers with their canines…minus the leashes.
- The high school – my husband’s playground. Nothing to see here.
- Purple House – still purple (now three shades!)
- Wind Chime House – they added more wind chimes. How is that even possible?
- Grandpa’s backyard – they cut down the lilac bushes. Sad
- Pumpkin Hill – No change here. Still steep as fukc. No wonder Kisa liked to roll pumpkins down it as a mischievous little boy.
- Stone house – for sale!
I didn’t get to run by the Sojourner Truth statue and I wasn’t able to get on the new and improved bike path (something for another day), but everything that I did visit (in 9.45 miles) was pure heaven. I miss this town. For all of its changes it still smells the same. Dryer vents, baking ham, wood smoke. Garden mulch. Old dog sh!t. My used to be street with its majestic maples and cracked sidewalks still calls to me.
Next Sunday Kisa flies to Gambletown. I’m slated to run 13. I think I’ll call the in-laws and ask them if I can run down memory lane again; ask them if I can come home.